Let’s talk about Mano first. I can not stress this enough: this photobook is incredible. Mano’s turned 20 and she wants to show it. What happened to that cute girl who bookended Yorosen! and Berikyuu!? She’s turned into an incredibly beautiful woman.
It’s almost unbelievable, but in a year where both Takahashi Ai and Suzuki Airi, the photobook queens, released awesome PB’s, Mano sneakily manages to deliver the best PB I’ve seen this year. It’s going to be hard for any other photobooks to come close to the bundle of hotness that is this release. The book itself is a beautiful hardcover, nice and thick with lots of photo’s. It features photo’s of Mano at both 19 and 20 years of age and it nicely highlights the contrast between the girlish 19-year-old Mano and the new 20-year old adult Mano. This PB is a must-buy.
Next up we have Only You, Morning Musume’s 46th single. As a special bonus it comes with a free poster, pictured below.
Morning Musume doesn’t dissapoint. This release turns the concept of their previous release around by putting the more mature and emotional (though still very powerful and awesome) song first and putting the more genki, energetic and quirky song as the coupling.
Only You is fierce. It harkens back to the Emomusume era, but doesn’t take too much from it. The best parts were undoubtably Niigaki Risa’s two solo parts. Yes, she’s autotuned and while I’m always suspicious of this technology, in this song it works. It doesn’t dominate but nicely compliments the song. Sayumi is the “ah” queen as usual and 9th gen member Sayashi Riho proves she’s leadsinger material as she nicely compliments Ai and Reina, who both are awesome as usual. Line distribution is completely unfair, but as long as the end result is great, I really don’t care. Out of the 9th gen Riho’s voice clearly suits this song the most. The end part when she gets to sing two solo bits gives me this feeling of “yes you’re truly a Momusu now”. It’s as if the song builds up to that part.
If you’re dying to hear a song with better line distribution and more lines for the rest of the 9th gen, may I suggest the coupling song? Yamette yo! Sindbad is this release’s genki song. Upbeat, quirky with even line-distribution for the 9th gen (even Aika gets to sing a few lines), this is one of the best couplings in a long while. It gets a bit too goofy at times, but that’s not a big complaint.
I highly recommend both Mano’s new photobook and Only You. If you like what you see and hear please support these idols. You can buy Mano’s photobook here and here, while Only You can be had here as well as on iTunes.